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The last time Joshua Green attended a UCLA graduation, it was 1977 and he was a Brillo-haired poli-sci major just thankful to be wearing the cap and gown. But last week, the conservatively coiffed Venture Law Group partner was an honored guest at his alma mater’s graduation ceremony. Green’s front-row seat in Palo Alto, Calif.’s technology boom translated into an honored chair on stage at UCLA’s social sciences division graduation. And like every good graduation speaker, Green brought with him to the podium all the answers to life’s vexing questions. “For the long journey ahead, I recommend that you place a compass in one hand and a scale in the other,” Green said in his speech to the young graduates. “Your compass is your passion and the challenge will be to identify it. Your scale represents balance, and the challenge will be to maintain it,” he said. “You can test the depth of your passion by the degree of hard work that you expend when no one else knows or appreciates it,” Green told the group. Up to the point when Green addressed the graduates, many of them had been calling their family and friends in the 20-seat stands and giving clues to their locations. But when he began giving his simple message, the graduates were so rapt with attention that they hung up their mobile phones to listen. Too bad they didn’t have Green’s number. “The key is that they couldn’t talk back,” Green said the week after delivering his message. “I was nervous an hour or so before, but once up there, I shocked myself. Since they couldn’t talk or ask me questions, it was a pretty safe environment.” If only the board meetings of ailing dot-com clients gave lawyers such shelter. Green’s speech contained a message he said has been lost in Silicon Valley. “We are presently in the fifth and most intense down cycle since I began working, and I suggest that the primary reason is that we temporarily lost our way,” Green said in his speech. “Long-term, sound progress is dependent upon balance. Balancing your head and heart, balancing fun and fulfillment and balancing short-term gratification with long-term rewards.” It’s good advice for those who are listening.

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